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Nathaniel (Charles) Rothschild (1877-1923)

Nathaniel Charles Rothschild (1877-1923) was the younger son of Natty and Emma. He was educated at Harrow where he displayed a great talent for entomology. 

Charles as he was known, joined his uncles at New Court in 1915. A letter dated 12 July 1915, from Charles to Alfred and Leopold de Rothschild, accepting their offer to join the family partnership at New Court, and offering his support to the business, will be found in 000/182. Upon his uncle Alfred's death in 1918, Charles assumed the position of Senior Partner, N M Rothschild & Sons, leading the London bank from 1918-1923.

He had tremendous energy for his many pursuits and occupations, and while the bank at New Court benefited from his practical and systematic approach to the organisation of the firm, his real interests lay outside the financial sphere, in the world of science and natural history. In May 1912, Charles  held a meeting at the British Museum (Natural History) in London to discuss his idea for a new organisation to save the best places for wildlife in the British Isles. This meeting led to the formation of the Society for the Promotion of Nature Reserves. His vision was to identify and secure protection for our islands' most important wildlife sites, and led to nature conservation as we know it.  

Business papers of  Charles Rothschild


The Archive holds little of Charles' business correspondence; it is believed that much of his private collection of papers was destroyed after his death. For papers concerning the Society for the Promotion of Nature Reserves, and the ‘Rothschild Reserves’ survey Charles co-ordinated from New Court between 1912-1915, see Papers of institutions: Society for the Promotion of Nature Reserves »

Chinese silver sycees, presented to (Nathaniel) Charles Rothschild , c.1851-1861; 1901; 1903

00/1911/10, 3 items

Three Chinese silver Ingots: These objects were also known as Sycees (‘shoes’), and ‘yuanbao’ (‘yuan’ for the currency, ‘bao’ for treasure). They were a type of silver bullion that took the form of ingots, so-called because they were supposed to resemble the Chinese female foot. The distinctive raised ends were created by rocking the mould while the metal was still liquid. They were used throughout China (in about 13 provinces) in varying weights and sizes. Each ingot was stamped with the name of the smelter, date of casting and an indication of the weight and fineness. Two of these sycees are believed to have been presented to Charles Rothschild (1877-1923). In 1903, Charles made a Round-the-World trip, spending time in China. Such items are quite rare to find outside of China.

  • Chinese silver sycee, unmounted. This sycee dates from the Xian feng period (c.1851-1861). This kind of ingot could either have been a bank ingot (although there is no bank name), or a local tax ingot);
  • Chinese silver sycee, mounted on an ebonised wood base, with descriptions and date, 1901, from the Kuang Hsu Official Bank. Inscription 'District of W'an-an. Cast in the 1st month of the 30th year of Kuang Hsu, 50 taels (oz) Kiangsi official silver'
  • Chinese silver sycee, mounted on an ebonised wood base, with descriptions and date, 1903, from the Kuang Hsu Official Bank. Inscription 'Superintendency of Hupeh 5th month of the 32nd year of Kuang Hsu official bank'

Committee to enquire into the system of accounts of N M Rothschild & Sons, minutes and papers, 1908

000/170, 1 volume

Minute Book recording note of a meeting held 18 November 1908, concerning the formation of a Committee, led by Nathaniel (Charles) Rothschild to enquire into the system of accounts, and proposals to revise the accounts of NMR; related correspondence, including 'worked examples' of the proposed revisions.